A phase II study shows a new drug, guselkumab, has greater value in comparison with the current treatment, adalimumab for psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated, chronic skin disease, which causes itchy, dry and red skin and affects nearly 3% of the world’s population. This skin condition increases patients’ risk for depression, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases as well.
The new drug blocks interleukin 23, a protein specifically implicated in psoriasis.
Over a 52-week trial, 293 adults with moderate-to-severe psoriasis—covering 10% or more of the body—were randomly assigned to receive varying doses of one of the two drugs or a placebo.
On weeks 16 and 40, accomplishments of the drugs were measured on a scale of zero to five—zero being clearance of the skin condition and five showing minimal psoriasis symptoms.
A significantly higher number of patients in the guselkumab group had a score of zero or one in both the short and long term periods compared to the adalimumab and placebo groups.
One example showed that at week 40, 81% of patients taking a 200-mg dose of guselkumab had a score of zero or one, compared to 49% of patients taking adalimumab.
"Research like this study is leading to a series of new medications that promise high levels of response for an increasing number of patients," said Kenneth Gordon, M.D., professor in dermatology and first author of the New England Journal of Medicine, in a statement.
"The possibility of getting almost all patients nearly clear and able to live their lives without the burden of this disease impacting them every day is getting close to reality."